Has D.C. ever hosted a Republican or Democratic Convention? I’m guessing the answer is no, at least not a modern party convention. Sure, this region gets a boost from the federal government every day. Sure, we have (practically) no votes to offer either political party, though Maryland and Virginia certainly do. Yes, I recognize there are very few solid arguments in favor of holding a convention here. But, that is a shame for a few reasons.
This press release from leadership in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, home of this year’s GOP convention, can elaborate reason number one:
“It is estimated that the Convention will bring $150 million to $160 million in economic impact to Minneapolis, Saint Paul and the surrounding areas. In addition, more than 2,800 jobs will be created generating more than $100 million in wages. The national exposure that will focus on Minneapolis Saint Paul and the surrounding area will be priceless.”
Money and jobs are good, right? On that we can all agree? Okay. My second point is going to be a tougher sell. But here goes. It’s a longstanding tradition for politicians to just disdain D.C. on merit. And that hateful, dismissive image is the one they present to their constituents back in the places they once lived years and years ago before they decided they actually liked D.C. better. Yet, we are, it seems, heading into an era where Washington could be known for more than just the Smithsonian and the Capitol. A fresh eye on the city could reshape its reputation. And the city itself is trying to persuade people to consider local traditions and places, as well as its nationally known monuments, memorials, etc. If D.C. did indeed host a convention, the planners could pick and choose the aspects of Washington they would want to highlight. “A political convention is second only to the Olympics in terms of exposure it brings to an area,” the press release also reads. (Really, the super bowl isn’t just as big? That’s surprising.) But, anyway…we already have a massive convention center. And a good transportation system. And plenty of hotels. I think we’re good to go.